Directed by Ingmar Bergman • 1957 • Sweden
Starring Max von Sydow, Inga Landgré, Gunnar Björnstrand
Returning exhausted from the Crusades to find medieval Sweden gripped by the Plague, a knight (Max von Sydow) suddenly comes face-to-face with the hooded figure of Death, and challenges him to a game of chess. As the fateful game progresses, and the knight and his squire encounter a gallery of outcasts from a society in despair, Bergman mounts a profound inquiry into the nature of faith and the torment of mortality. One of the most influential films of its time, THE SEVENTH SEAL is a stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning and a work of stark visual poetry.
This introduction to THE SEVENTH SEAL was created in 2003 as part of a series of introductions that Marie Nyreröd recorded with Ingmar Bergman to many of his films. Shot in Bergman’s screening room on Fårö Island, these pieces were designed to precede the films when shown on Swedish television.
In this 2009 video piece, film scholar Peter Cowie walks us through Ingmar Bergman’s career by way of film stills, behind-the-scenes photos, and clips from many of the director’s films and television productions.